The Future of Mobile Device Charging

Is your device really mobile if you have to plug it into a wall?

Charging your smartphone by plugging it into the wall will be a thing of the past pretty soon. When you think about it, our mobile devices are mobile only when charged, a limitation that leaves major room for innovation in charging technology.

Wireless chargers are available, but they’ve generated little interest because the tablets and phones still need to touch a charging device. Wouldn’t it be more interesting if we could harness the power of the sun, our bodies, or even our clothes to charge our mobile devices? With the current pace of mobile growth and the interest in wearable technology, charging will likely be the next area for expansion.

Quartz recently compiled some of the most promising charging technologies, along with the potential and the challenges for each. We pulled a few exciting examples from the post.


Electrons flee from hot to cold, creating a current. When this current crosses from one type of metal to another, it generates a charge. Tap that seam with a wire, and you’ve got electricity.

Where it’s working for mobile: Your body is a steady source of heat, so it’s an obvious source for electricity on-the-go.


Certain materials—quartz, most notably—generate an electric charge when they are compressed, shaken, or otherwise agitated in a way that makes them vibrate at a target frequency.

Biomechanical energy

Biomechanical devices use our bodies’ motions to move tiny power generators. They often use degenerative force—like the breaking force your knee generates to straighten your leg just before each step.

Mobile solar

Solar power works because certain materials create an electrical current when they are exposed to sunlight.

Will this change the way we use mobile devices? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments.

<p>Arman Zhenikeyev/Fuse/ThinkStockPhotos</p>
Mar 13 2014